Many tactics out there for getting your buck
Saturday is the start of the rifle season for deer hunting. I’m sure tonight will be a sleepless night for many an anxious hunter, myself included. The thoughts of previous years’ hunting excursions and deer encounters will be playing through my head on repeat just like every other year. Also filling hunters’ minds may be the curiosity and anticipation of how the next morning or next few days pan out.
There is a lot more to deer hunting than just going out into the forest with a rifle and waiting for the buck to walk out in front of you while shivering. A lot of strategies can be employed by the more dedicated hunter. In Michigan you have the option to bait, so you have to decide if you are going to do that. If you decide to bait, which bait(s) are you going to use? There are a whole lot of options out there available.
Then you have to decide how you’re going to hunt, whether you sit in a blind, stand by a tree, stalk around and look for them, or participate in drives to push deer to you or other hunters. Hunters also go to extremes to make themselves either “scentless” or covered by another more natural scent. Other scents can be used as deer attractants such as doe or buck urine.
Another option to consider is whether or not to use some sort of call. Using a call can and does make or break the success of a hunter depending on how and when it is used. Judging by the calls available, grunt call appears to be the most widely available. These calls mimic a buck and can be used to challenge another buck or announce their location. In and around the rut while the bucks are establishing dominance, using this call may trigger a buck into believing he has competition.
Rattles, or actual deer antlers can also be used to trigger the interest of a buck. During the pre-rut bucks will rub trees with their antlers to mark their territory. Bucks will also fight with their antlers to establish dominance. While hunting you can use these rattles to rub a tree or rattle the antlers together to mimic other bucks and hopefully convince one to come looking for a fight. Bleat calls mimic does when they are nearly ready to breed. These can be used to catch the attention of a rutting buck and stop him in his tracks or convince him to come looking.
When using calls there is also a lot to consider. By using a call, you have basically announced your location. Typically an interested deer will then come to your location from downwind making the concept of being scentless more important. How often to use the calls is certainly a decision that is up for debate but I’ve heard that 10 to 30 minutes between calls is a common amount of time. The volume at which you call is important as well. Grunts are low-toned and do not travel far, but if you’re calling too loudly you may spook the deer. Good luck, have a safe hunt to all the hunters out there whatever you decide to do.